Is Olive Oil Paleo? (Plus Other Paleo-Friendly Oils You Can Cook With)

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You’re giving that Paleo life a go (bring on the meats, veggies, fruits and nuts), but you’re still a little foggy about cooking fats. Is olive oil off-limits? Are all plant oils OK? We’ve got the answers (plus other cooking oils that have the Paleo seal of approval).

Is olive oil Paleo? Yep! Your go-to cooking oil is A-OK to consume on the Paleo diet. It’s packed with monounsaturated (read: heart-healthy) fats and antioxidants, and it’s super anti-inflammatory. Try to stick with unrefined olive oil, and be careful about how you store it: Too much air, light and heat can make olive oil go rancid (and lose its health benefits in the process).

OK…are other plant oils approved? There are lots of non-animal fats that are Paleo. Coconut oil is always an option, as long as it’s unrefined or “virgin.” Avocado oil is full of monounsaturated fat and has a high smoke point, so it’s great for sautéing. Try macadamia oil in salad dressings or as a garnish: It has the perfect mix of fatty acids, plus tons of monounsaturated fat.

Great! What other fats can I eat? Animal fats like pork lard, beef tallow and duck fat are all Paleo-friendly. So is ghee, because it’s dairy-free. Another easy way to stay on track? Use less cooking oil in general, and reach for Paleo-approved foods that are high in fats themselves, like grass-fed beef, wild salmon and avocado.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...